Every traveler has vastly different budgets. It actually depends on your personality and tastes. Of course, there are a number of destinations that you might don’t want to visit, the different styles of traveling: food choices, shopping, or visiting historical places. Here I would like to share the “big idea” for you to make an estimation budget trip to Japan according to the various locations I’ve visited for 9 days. Take a peek at my journey below!

I put the price specifically for one person. I didn’t include the flight and hotel expenses because the airlines and hotels selected might be different.

Read More: Travel Budget and Itinerary: Trip to Labuan Bajo

Day 1, February 19 2019 – KIX Airport

Before starting my journey, I had rented a Wi-Fi router on Traveloka for 9 days. At around 9 PM, I arrived at the Kansai International Airport, Osaka. Just so you know, for an easy transaction using trains, buses, or buying snacks at the supermarket, you need ICOCA card (a kind of e-money or prepaid card).

trip ke jepang
ICOCA, e-money in the Kansai region.

I spent 3,000¥ to top up ICOCA for the first time. Please note that ICOCA will automatically deduct 500¥ as a deposit fee, but don’t worry it is refundable. So, my total active balance was 2,500¥.

1st day expensed:
WiFi rented – ca. 1,400 ¥ /9 days if you rent it in Japan
ICOCA card and top up – 3,000¥

Day 2, 20 February 2019 – Universal Studio Japan, Shinsaibashi

Wow, surprisingly a trip from the airport to the city center turned out quite costly! Especially if you’re a sweet tooth. You can’t help but go to shops or 7-11 to fill in your desire for snacks. I mean, it’s Japan and Japanese foods are known for their great taste. So, let’s just say that every day you have to top up your ICOCA 1,000¥.

My first travel destination was Universal Studios Japan. I bought the entrance ticket on Traveloka. In February (middle season) the price was 8,180¥.

Since it was the middle season and I’ve heard a lot of people say that the queue for favorite games like Harry Potter and The Flying Dinosaur can be up to 4 hours! I finally decided to buy Express Pass on Klook. After all, I won’t be there very often so it was worth the price for me. You’ll be charged 10,980¥ for one ticket Express Pass. For more information about Express Pass, I will explain in the next blog! 

Biaya Liburan dan Itinerary trip ke Jepang
Express Pass that I bought on Klook.

There are many restaurants at Universal Studio, but the one that captivates my eyes is Three Broomsticks, located in the Harry Potter area. I chose the small Roast Beef Salad and Hot Butterbeer (total 2,250¥). Also, I didn’t miss trying cute snacks at USJ! Starting from Fujiko Chocolate Rose Churros, Turkey Leg, and Minions biscuits (1,900¥ total).

2nd day expensed:
ICOCA top up – 1,000¥
USJ Ticket and Express Pass – 19,160¥
Lunch and snacks – 4,150¥

Day 3, 21 February 2019 – Kitano Tenmangu, Arashiyama

The next morning, I headed straight to Kyoto. If you have a tight budget, 7-11 will be the right answer. Besides cheap, the food here is delicious. Only for 500¥, you could get two onigiris and water. To save money, you can fill your bottle in the hotel. Tap water is safe to drink.

trip to japan
Oh, I paid for my breakfast using ICOCA and the price for onigiri was 100¥-150¥. To ease your trip to Japan, don’t forget to top up your ICOCA at least 1,000¥ every day.

In Kyoto, I couldn’t immediately check in since I arrived early. If you have the same condition, just stroll around first. Don’t worry about your suitcases, lockers are the answer for you! Only for 500¥, you can rent a locker at Kyoto Station (you can pay using ICOCA too, but I suggest using your coins because they can’t be exchanged at money changers).

To spend time, I went to Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and Arashiyama. There is no ticket to Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. I only spent money on souvenirs (I won’t write down on expenses because what you want might be different). In Arashiyama, I had lunch and bought an entrance ticket to Tenryuji Temple.

3rd day expensed:
ICOCA top up – 1,000¥
Locker rental – 500¥
Tempura Udon lunch (plus drink and miso soup) – 800¥
Tenryuji Temple Entrance – 500¥

Day 4, 22 February 2019 – Fushimi Inari Taisha, Gion Corner

Well, this time I didn’t have breakfast at 7-11 because I had to leave early in the morning to Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. In front of the temple, there are lots of street food hawkers. Prepare your coins! I bought a crab stick and Uji green tea ice cream all only for 880 ¥. The entrance ticket to Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is also free.

Before lunch, I returned to the hotel and continued my journey in the afternoon to see the geiko performance at Gion Corner. Here you can see a display of another six Kyoto’s traditional performing arts.  

I only spent 2,500 ¥, it was a special winter price. A trip to Japan in this season is indeed cheaper! After watching Geiko, I walked around the streets of Gion that were surrounded by old Japanese house interiors. Then I bought dinner at Lawson (almost the same price as 7-11) and used ICOCA for payment.

I spent two days in Kyoto and headed straight to Tokyo at midnight. How did I go to Tokyo from Kyoto? Since I wasn’t in a hurry, I took a night bus which is cheap, comfortable, and has a toilet in it. Plus I don’t need a JR Pass!

trip to japan
Night bus from Kyoto to Tokyo.

I bought the ticket on Willer Express and left around 11.00 P.M at the bus terminal of Kyoto Station. There are many kinds of night buses that you can choose from, both the hour and the type. I selected a Kintetsu bus bound for Ueno for 6,800¥. We arrived the next day at 07.00 AM Tokyo time.

4th day expensed:
ICOCA top up – 1,000¥
Street food at Fushimi Inari – 880¥
Gion Corner – 2,500¥
Willer Express Bus – 6,800¥

Day 5, 23 February 2019 – Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, Akihabara

I couldn’t sleep tightly on the bus (not because it was uncomfortable, but I was afraid to miss my stop.. LOL) Right after arriving at the capsule hotel, I immediately slept soundly. So, I started travelling around at 02.00 PM, from Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, to Akihabara.

I really like the transportation system in Japan because they make it very easy for tourists. There are various passes available for each prefecture so that we can plan a trip to Japan cheaper. To those who want to go around Tokyo on the JR Yamanote Line, I suggest to use Tokunai Pass as it is more profitable. Remember, only JR Yamanote Line!

tokunai pass
Tokunai Pass.

With Tokunai Pass, you can visit from Harajuku, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Akihabara, Yoyogi, Ueno, Nippori, and many more. Most importantly, you only need to pay 750¥ per day.

On the fifth day, I was busy looking for souvenirs. In Harajuku, there is Takeshita Street or Mega Don Quijote in Shibuya. While in Shinjuku, I didn’t forget to try Ichiran Ramen, the famous ramen that is popular among YouTubers. Also bought a cup of Sakura Full Milk Latte at Starbucks, which is a different menu from my country Indonesia. Surprisingly it tastes like gum.

Well, in Shinjuku I bought a second ticket for tours around Tokyo and the Kanto area as well. The price is much cheaper than the JR Pass (I’ll explain that later)! Even though I bought it on the 23rd, I asked the clerk to activate it for the 24th.

5th day expensed:
ICOCA top up – 1,000¥
Tokunai Pass – 750¥
Ichiran Ramen- 1,490¥
High Sakura Full Milk Latte – 470¥
Tokyo Wide Pass – 10,000¥

Day 6, February 24, 2019 – Nikko

ke nikko naik apa
View of Nikko from the train window. Isn’t it really good?

Tokyo Wide Pass covered all JR trains in the Tokyo and Kanto areas. Since my destinations were mostly around the Kanto area – such as Tokyo, Nikko, and Gala Yuzawa (it’s actually in Niigata though), I decided to buy this pass.

I was very curious about the Nikko Edo Wonderland theme park, which showcases the life and culture of Edo era. I immediately had pre-booked the tickets on Klook.

If you’re also interested in going to Nikko, you don’t need to pay all trains both JR and non-JR with Tokyo Wide Pass. However, wandering with city buses from Kinugawaonsen Station costs 820¥, for a round trip fare. In Edo Wonderland, there are lots of delicious foods. Prepared to ‘lose’ your money :p 

6th day expensed:
ICOCA top up – 1,000¥
Nikko Edomura ticket – 3,845¥
Bus on Nikko – 820¥
Snacks at Nikko Edomura – 550¥
Udon dinner at the station – 500¥

7 Day, 25 February 2019 – Nakamise Dori, Lake Kawaguchiko

Trip to Japan is not complete if you don ’t visit their icon, Mount Fuji! Again, Tokyo Wide Pass covered a trip to Kawaguchiko. But first, I stopped at Sensoji Temple as soon as I woke up. Many YouTube food bloggers recommend Nakamise Dori once you want to buy a variety of souvenirs. Located in Asakusa, you cannot use JR Pass for Metro trains but you can pay with ICOCA. At Sensoji, I tried street food that cost me around 900¥.

Oh ya, in the last three days I haven’t topped up ICOCA since there’s enough balance to buy breakfast and dinner, as well as transportation costs outside JR.

It’s dark soon, but I still insist on visiting Mount Fuji. Trust me, it’s better to go there around 3 PM in winter as the scenery is not foggy. Since I didn’t have time to eat lunch, I bought Ekiben at the station. I was pretty full because it was complete with side dishes.

trip to kawaguchiko
Lake Kawaguchiko.

In order to see Mount Fuji from above, I took the Kachi-Kachi Ropeway and paid 800¥ for the Gondola (round trip). You have to spend a little money on the bus to get here, which is 300 ¥ (round trip). After being satisfied taking selfies with Fuji background, I moved on to Lake Kawaguchiko and spent time viewing for minutes.

Arriving back in Tokyo, I strolled around at Akihabara and had dinner at Sushizanmai restaurant, Tsukiji.

7th Day expensed:
Sensoji Snack – 900¥
Ekiben – 980¥
Kachi-Kachi Ropeway – 800¥
The bus bound for Kawaguchiko – 300¥
Dining at Sushizanmai – 2,000¥

Day 8, 26 February 2019 – Gala Yuzawa

D-1 before going home I didn’t explore too many places. Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort was my final destination in Japan. My goal was only one, to see the snow! Anyway, the advantage of using the Tokyo Wide Pass, you’ll get a special price for tourists. I chose the “The Bell of Love Pack” package for 3,000 ¥. It includes a round trip gondola, barouche chair lift, observation deck, and rental boots.

gala yuzawa resort
Gala Yuzawa Resort.

8th day expensed:
Gala Yuzawa Snow Resort – 3,000¥

Day 9, 27 February 2019 – NRT Airport

Since Tokyo Wide Pass only works for 3 days, I bought a ticket for Tokyo Skyliner, a high-speed train to Narita airport. Departing from Ueno Station, I paid 2,218¥ for this airport train. I bought the rest of the ICOCA balance for chocolate at 7-11 airport. Then I fly back to Indonesia!

9th day expensed:
Tokyo Skyliner – 2,218¥

So, from Osaka to Tokyo, how much money did I spend in Japan? The total is 73,313¥ or equal to $691. This budget didn’t include airplane tickets and hotels, souvenirs too. Here are some tips to cut spending.

For Your Information

  • You don’t need to rent a WIFI, just buy sim card. Problem is the limited quota.
  • You can reduce the number of days in Japan, for example, 7 or 5 days. So you’ll save more! 
  • You don’t need to use Express Pass at Universal Studios.
  • You don’t need to visit Gion Corner, you can still see geisha or geiko passing by in Gion. However, even close-up photos are prohibited! Many geikos are uncomfortable with tourists – especially Asian – waiting in front of their houses.
  • Saving more money by eating at a restaurant, with a maximum of 1,000¥. Lots of cheap and delicious eateries at major stations like Tokyo, Ueno, Kyoto, and others. I had udon for only 500¥ at Ueno Station and it was delicious!
  •  If you are interested in Nikko, Please think twice if you want to go to Nikko Edomura unless you bring kids! I was a little disappointed because the theme park is specifically for small children. However, you can find various histories about the Edo Dynasty here. Starting from the life of the people, clothing, professions at that time, to the legend of the mythical creatures of that era. Alternatively, you can spend Nikko’s time looking at Kegon Falls or Rinnoji Temple.
  • If you’re not using a pass card, that is worth millions. Avoid tourist spots that use shinkansen. But the destination you go to. must be centered in the city.
gunung fuji
Mount Fuji from the Kachi-Kachi Ropeway.

By following these suggestions above, you’ll save a few million. If you want to save more, it’s best to go for just one prefecture. For example, only Tokyo or Osaka, because the cost is quite cheap.

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